|Gathering for a ride at Illam Hall
The National Clarion Big Ride Out in October was a huge success. Ilam Hall youth hostel in the Peak District was an ideal base for cyclists with local attractions including Tissington Trail, Thors Cave, Dovedale’s Stepping Stones and miles of great cycling in the area. Ilam Hall is only a mile away from the Clarion’s first Conference venue in 1895, The famous Isaac Walton Hotel. The event, which was fully subscribed was ably organised by
John Clayton and Tim Moss
rode out to Staffordshire,
from Wakefield on Friday
afternoon. A Fenland Clarion
group rode the 100 miles
from Peterborough and other
Clarionistas cycled from
Barnoldswick and Stockport.
Calder’s Steve Burton and
Richard Hancock took the
easy option of driving. They
did get out for an afternoon
ride up the hill flanking
Thorpe Cloud, guarding the
entrance to Dove Dale and
on to Hartington, site of the
Calder Summer Weekend
Tour in 2006, via the Tissington Trail
and back over the Manifold-Dove
On Saturday, three cycling groups left
the Hall, ours heading through
superb, sunny White Peak scenery to
Longnor where we sampled soup and
sandwiches at the excellent Cobbles
Tea shop. Refuelled we tackled the
hair pinned climb from Crowdecote up
to Waggon Lowe and eventually onto
the High Peak Trail,
which took them south eastwards for several miles, before we returned to roads and swinging west through more delightful undulating countryside. By mid afternoon we dropped into Ashbourne and there enjoyed a pint in the “Olde Vaults before the short stretch to Fenny Bentley and back to Ilam.
In the evening we joined the other Clarionistas for a couple of pints of the local beer “Wobbly Wallaby”, which, according to the label, was brewed to celebrate a group of Wallabies which escaped from a zoo in the 1930s and settled on the Roaches, eventually becoming a pack/flock/pride ? of about 50. There have been sightings on the Roaches ever since, most recently in 2010.
The Ham and Manifold trail starts in Waterhouses. It’s a traffic free metalled road through these two spectacular narrow river valleys, flanked by limestone cliffs, past Thor’s Cave to Hulme Edge where the old railway station has been converted into a tourist information centre. From here it was a short hop to Hartington for lunch in the Devonshire Arms which can be recommended. Then a run down to Tissington along the trail and finally a swoop down to Illam from Thorpe.
An excellent Weekend, lookout for it next year.
Video of Calder Clarion Ride